Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Florida Gardens

What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Planting and Caring Tips for Your Lychee Tree

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 7th

The season is upon us for harvesting the fruit of the Lychee tree. Despite the fruits addictive flavor, it remains one of China’s best kept secrets. Lychees have a rough outer skin that separates easily leaving you with a flesh that is sweet to sub-acid, aromatic and tastes unlike anything else on earth.

lychee fruit Planting and Caring Tips for Your Lychee Tree

In SW Florida, fruit is ready for a short time in late May through early July and has a very short shelf life.

The trees were introduced to Florida in the 1930’s and some of the larger commercial groves are in an area southwest of Miami. They grow best in the subtropical climates where temperatures are cool and dry for a short time in the winter months.

Lychees do not like wet feet, so be sure to plant your tree in well drained soil. Trees can also be planted on a mound to ensure proper drainage. The native soil of Florida is fine for successful growing.

lychee tree Planting and Caring Tips for Your Lychee Tree

Tips for Growing & Caring for Lychee trees:

  • Temperature: Thrive in subtropical environments. Heavy tropical environments may result in no fruit production. Mature trees can withstand a light frost, but prolonged temperatures below 32 degrees may result in damage or even kill the tree.
  • Best Dooryard Varieties: Hak Ip, Sweet Heart, Kwai Mai Pink and Mauritius. Commercial varieties such as: Brewster and Emperor are larger trees that may not be suited for a smaller yard.
  • Avg. Height and Width: Varies with the variety, Lychee trees range from about 20 to 40 feet tall. Average is 25’ X 25”.
  • Native Range: Common in areas of Southern China. Commercial plantations are common in Hawaii and Florida.
  • Fertilize established trees regularly 1 to 2 times during the growing season from spring to the end of summer.
  • Water: Lychees need regular watering during the growing season. Soils with too much salt in them, especially in the Southwest require regular watering to prevent salt build-up. Lychees should not be in standing water, as it will stunt their growth. Newly planted trees should be watered 2 to 3 times a week during the first weeks of planting, but can be reduced once the tree is established
  • Prune mature trees to help control the size and shape. The University of Florida Extension office recommends not cutting branches that are larger than 1 inch, or you risk having less fruit production.

During Lychee season, we will be selling Lychee fruit at the Downtown Farmers Market at Centennial Park Thursdays from 7am to 1pm.

Visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Garden Shoppe to see some of the varieties we have available. The horticulture staff is available to assist you and to answer any questions you may have.

20 Responses

  1. Tropical Fruit Trees That Grow Best in SW Florida | Tropical Gardens of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Says:

    [...] Lychee – The Lychee is a native of China and Asia, but thrives in our SW Florida climate. Pine Island is a very large commercial producer with fruit arriving in late May through early July. A larger tree growing upwards of 40 feet tall, producing fruit after about 3 to 5 years and preferring well drained soil with some wind protection. [...]

    Posted on June 7th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

  2. Brian T. Apo Says:

    Can you tell me why our older lychee tree no longer bears fruit. 35 years ago, it was a fantastic fruiter, yielding large amounts of fruit.

    Posted on February 6th, 2013 at 10:08 pm

  3. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    A tree may not reach its prime condition until it is 20-40 years old and continue to produce for 100 years.

    Problems with fruiting are sometimes weather related (too cold at flowering)…
    sometimes stress related, too dry or a weakened condition due to insect or disease.

    Steve Hottovy
    Edison Ford Horticulturist

    Posted on February 14th, 2013 at 6:11 pm

  4. Wanda Says:

    Hi, I’m in southeast Florida and have two trees approximately 25-30 years old. We we get those cold winters we get great fruit. Last year the small fruits (tiny and green) fell off and we had no fruit. It seems to be starting again this year. Could this be a water problem, too little? There is no grass under the trees to speak of by their choice! Should I fertilize now or would that make things worse? Any help would be appreciated, we love our lychees.

    Posted on March 21st, 2013 at 9:39 am

  5. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Wanda,
    I have heard this from several people about their lychees losing fruit again this year because it wasn’t cold again this winter.
    Our tree here at the Estates is close to 80 years old, and it takes a break every now and again. Lychees can be alternate bearing.
    You didn’t mention what variety. Sweetheart doesn’t give fruit every year at all-neither does emperor. We have the variety called Brewster and it is especially
    Good-we didn’t have fruit last year, but we are loaded so far this year. They haven’t started falling off yet. It still has a while to go-fruits in late June and through July if we are lucky.
    The birds get a lot!
    We do not fertilize at all. It gets irrigation twice a week-the leaves look lusciously green.
    Fertilizing would probably only make the tree grow more leaves-not necessarily produce fruit. The tree will drop what it can not support in fruit because of reasons we don’t always understand.
    I was told by a couple yesterday that let someone cut their fruit off 2 years ago-they told me that they haven’t had fruit since.
    When I pick fruit I do not cut off-I just pick the fruit with a fruit picker. Try this instead of cutting off branches.
    Try watering at least once a week for a 1/2 hour.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on April 11th, 2013 at 1:06 pm

  6. Stephen Says:

    We have two lychee trees which is about 4 years and its growing straight. Since last year we have noticed something like small spiky jack fruit type fruit growing on it. It does not ripen but just grows bigger till we cut it off. Now this looks strange on a lychee tree, but does such thing grow before the actual lychee fruit? Please guide.

    Posted on May 12th, 2013 at 6:54 am

  7. Lenea Says:

    My tree in Cape Coral is about 6 feet tall. We have lived in this house for 3 years. There were about 6 “fruits” 2 years ago and none since. The leaves have serious “gnaw” marks but I can’t see what the infestation might be. Should I spray?…and spray with what? Thanks very much.
    Lenea

    Posted on May 24th, 2013 at 11:51 am

  8. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Stephen,
    It sounds like your fruit is not performing right yet. You are getting what some call the “chicken tongues” that are supposed to not hinder the real fruit production. They stick straight up and are inferior. Maybe your Lychee tree is too young to produce with enough vigor. Give it a couple more years, but hopefully it is not a genetic problem. Lychees are often alternate bearers. Lychee fruit is best left on the tree to ripen. They won’t ripen well after picking. The weather for best fruit production is dry and cold (non-freezing) in the winter months, warm spring during flowering (March), and hot and humid summer for fruit maturation. Perfect for Florida!

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on June 5th, 2013 at 4:11 pm

  9. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Lenea,

    You bring up a good point-should you spray or not. First and foremost, we should only spray a chemical of any kind (unless it is soap spray) on plants unless we know what we are spraying for aschemicals are specific to insects and pathologies.
    The gnaw marks on your leaves gives me a clue though- These insects exist on some of our leaves in our gardens as the Sri Lankan Weevil. This weevil came to United States through Miami over 5 years ago, and it has been trouble ever since. It has many plants that it attacks including Mangoes, Citrus, Loquats, Papayas, Peaches, Black Sapotes, Lychees, Avocados etc. (over 150 different types of plants). They are the greatest gnawers of all time. The trouble with the gnaw marks becomes the problem from the lack of enough food produced for the trees to flower and fruit. It seems to set back fruit production on quite a few of our fruiting trees. I do a mass attack with a bucket of soapy water and knock them into the bucket. People do use acephate to a good result, but I don’t think it is labeled for fruit trees. That is the major problem many of our insecticides are not labeled for fruit and vegetables to take care of this weevil. I have found the scouting for these weevils who often live on the undersurface of the leaves and have a defense characteristic of falling to the ground when disturbed, make it difficult but not impossible. I spend a few minutes every day with this soapy water and that can put a dent in their populations especially to reproduce.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on June 5th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

  10. Sora Says:

    Can lychee trees be grown in other states? Oklahoma can be pretty humid and sometimes wet, dry, during the summer. The winters are a bit odd there, too. Can they be grown in Texas? San Antonio is pretty hot and humid, too. Just a small question.

    Posted on July 23rd, 2013 at 2:05 am

  11. Joji Castro Says:

    Im from the tropics, Philippines. I just planted the lychee seeds and they’ve easily grown. Our weather is dry and wet (50/50) over a year. Our temp ranges from 22C (Sept~Feb)and up 28~35C during summer (Mar~June). Will the lychee be able to thrive in our environment?

    Thank you, regards
    Jojie

    Posted on August 12th, 2013 at 1:17 am

  12. rahul Says:

    if i will cut branches of my lychee tree will it produce white color liquid????? and how can i sure that it is a lychee tree if it is too small???

    Posted on August 27th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

  13. Sea Says:

    My Lychee tree is losing leaves. What could be the problem? It does not have wet feet.

    Posted on October 21st, 2013 at 12:00 pm

  14. Ken Says:

    Planted in South Florida about two and a half years ago. The leaves are getting brown at the edges and dropping off.

    Thanks

    Ken

    Posted on October 29th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

  15. Jean Warren Says:

    When and how and are you supposed to prune a lychee tree? Ours is about four years old and we have never pruned, shaped, or touched the tree. It is a lot taller than six feet, but looks healthy. We’ve never seen a bloom. How long before it is fruitful?

    Posted on December 2nd, 2013 at 11:59 am

  16. Vikash Says:

    Hi,

    is there anything we can put to the flowers so that they all become fruits as most of the flowers are falling.

    Posted on December 8th, 2013 at 9:46 am

  17. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Vikash-The tree can only handle so many fruits each year. Some varieties will fruit better on alternate years. You can improve the potential by using a balanced fertilizer for fruit trees during growing season in the spring. The flowers begin in late spring into summer. Our lychee tree fruits all July because we have Brewster variety. It is very large and hard to pick all of the fruit. There is a benefit to keeping the tree with low branches so all of the harvest is not lost to birds etc.

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

    Posted on January 10th, 2014 at 12:33 pm

  18. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Jean-Lychees will start producing fruit anywhere from 5-10 years old-depending on whether it is a grafted variety. The first few years of any fruit even if it is four years old from a new plant, it needs to work for several years on it’s roots first. Once the tree gets to at least 6 feet or more, it is a good idea to trim the leader to encourage he tree to have lower branches thus easier harvesting when you do get fruit. Don’t lose faith, it is typical for some varieties of Lychee to alternate bear anyway. They will produce a lot one year and none the next. Not sure what variety you have, but the fruit is awesome tasting when just picked. Fruit from the grocery store is not as fresh and tasty.

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

    Posted on January 10th, 2014 at 12:38 pm

  19. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi SEa-There are many reasons lychee drop leaves-reasons could be cold, wind, or a really wet area. Try fertilizing the lychee(citrus of fruit fertilizer) during the spring when new leaves are emerging. The lychees do require seasonal temperature variations. Although they prefer warm humid summers, they do require some cool hours(chilling hours) between 32-45. I said chill not cold. They do like winter to be cooler and dry.

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

    Come see our Brewster variety of Lychee on the Edison Ford
    Winter Estates property. WE are open 9-5:30 every day for tours.

    Posted on January 10th, 2014 at 2:45 pm

  20. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Ken-The edges of the leaves turning brown on your Lychee tree could be anthracnose, too much water, or too little water and the cells of the leaves burst. Hopefully it will just grow out of during the winter months. Try giving it a fruit tree fertilizer in small amount (read label).

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

    Come see our lychee trees that Edison planted in the 1920′s. We are open from 9-5 every day. We offer Garden Tours on Wed. at 10:30am

    Posted on January 10th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Leave a Reply